Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Lost Keys Mystery

Christy put me up to this so blame her.


In the 90’s my sister was in the military and visiting me and my mother in our hometown. Pensacola, Florida. Our life WAS the military. We had lived on bases most of our lives, shopped at a commissary instead of a grocery store, and banked at the Navy Federal Credit Union. After my father retired, the bank was no longer very conveniently located because we moved. But you do what you’ve always done in the military, so we banked Navy.

My sister borrowed my mother’s car to make a deposit and get some cash. She drove to the other side of Pensacola where the bank was near two bases. She did her business and returned. And could not find the keys. Anywhere. We looked in the car, around it, under the seats. We looked in the house, in the sandy drive and among the leaves. We checked the dogs bowl to see if she’d perhaps been chewing on a plastic key fob. We looked inside the bathrooms, the fridge, and the garbage cans.

About an hour later, we got a call. From the bank. Navy Federal Credit Union. The one on the other side of town. They had the keys. At the bank. On the other side of town.
Now if my sister drove TO our house with the keys, how did they end up back at the bank? I ask you, How?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

All the Time in the World

It seems like you have 365 days when you start the year. But then you have to take out all the days you work, all the hours you sleep, all the times that you’re sick, and then all the times you are unexpectedly sick. Like last week.

I was cruising down a trail in Griffith Park when suddenly I realized that not only was the hill too steep, but the gravel made it feel like ice. My back tire started to fish-tail, and then I was falling, just to the side of the handle bars as the bike went down. Hand and knees striking first. The bike and I sliding another five feet or so on the fine powder on a steep incline. Coming to rest, I lay still, taking in the dirt, the coming darkness and how quiet the trail was. If I’d broken something, would anyone else be coming down the trail? If I had to stay there the whole night, would coyotes find me? Eat me? Or just toy with my broken body as I screamed in vain?

I felt my body, nothing broken. And I’d worn workout pants and a long-sleeve jacked and gloves. Very, very lucky because usually it’s just me and shorts and a sleeve-less t-shirt. My knees were banged up, but I tried not to pay attention to the dirty black-and-red streaks under my pants. If I could just get back to the car, stow the bike, and get on my way, maybe it wouldn’t hurt so bad.

Now it’s about 2-weeks later and I’m on crutches and fitted with a one-size-fits-all leg brace. A growing dome of fluid on my knee cap, bruising, and odd grinding noises told me something was wrong. Toddling off to the Emergency room two days ago, I had it x-rayed and looked at by a doctor. No breaks or fractures, but maybe something wrong with the ligaments. Further doctoring is in order.

In the mean time, keep it elevated and warm (not iced). Until then, I’ll be out of circulation for a few days. Despite a fairly busy schedule of writing, reading, and revision, a year always has moments that you can’t plan for. That’s why they tell you to have your manuscript ready when you write to agents. Because they don’t want to hear, “Well, you’re not going to believe this, but…” It was J.M. Barrie who said that some times is precious precisely because it’s wasted. Here’s to the two weeks I’m losing to a bum leg, laid up at home, reading books, hanging out with my boyfriend and our cat. Maybe it’s a God-imposed vacation. Or the universe reminding me that some of the 365 days granted at the beginning of the year have already been struck from the calendar by fate.

Now get back to your books!

Zoinks! Rejected Again

So if (ahem, I mean) WHEN I get published, I'll share it with you, so why not my rejections. It's part of the process, and doesn't often see the light of day. Rejections go along with unwanted mail. But there's always a story to the submission of a strory.

I submitted to AHMM (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine for those in the know), looking to plume my hat with a national publication. And who knows, maybe I'll get to meet him some day. I LOVE his movies. I sent in my submission on January 3rd. The rejections is dated April 29th. And my follow-up note is for June. So they're actually two months AHEAD of schedule. That's good news, isn't it? And they sent me a 60%-off coupon. They like me. They REALLY like me!

But seriously, it's a form rejection, but they did reply in the time they said they would (which beats the Tumbleweeds effect of some responses. That's when you've waited so long that you can hear tumbleweeds blowing in the howling wind outside). And it's a chance to revisit the short story as the editor did. Open the letter, re-read the piece and see if my attention flags at all. If it does, it's time for a rewrite. If four more months I could have submitted and heard back again. And eventually, somewhere down the line, I'm going to meet this Alfed Hitchcock guy. Or at least get into his magazine.